Jen Thom works in empathy and a-ha moments. She believes that the powerful combination of story and strategy can lead to changes in beliefs, policies, and practices that make a difference in people’s everyday lives. At Spitfire, Jen is a leader in the New York City office, where she provides counsel, directs strategy and message development, leads trainings and provides day-to-day counsel to clients including Bard Prison Initiative, Ford Foundation, Innocence Project, Latino Community Foundation, Mozilla Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation and the NYCLU.
Jen listens to her clients’ goals, gains a deep understanding of their constituents and develops approaches that build curiosity, engagement and support for their work. She specializes in distilling complex ideas and systems into compelling and actionable messages and campaigns.
Whether speaking out against hate in Charlottesville or standing up for immigrant rights and support of DACA recipients, Jen has coached executives and organizations to find their voice and role in responding to political and social moments. She has helped many clients develop values-based messages to roll out new initiatives that advance a narrative for social change.
As a strategist and trainer, Jen asks why, digging deeper and helping people conceptualize their big vision — using creative curriculum to teach her clients to connect the dots between the future they envision and their current state. She facilitates discussions and leads workshops to build her clients’ capacity and confidence to take the breakthroughs home with them and to their organizations. She has developed customized workshops to help participants learn by doing, for organizations like Parent Voices, Latino Community Foundation Nonprofit Accelerator and Bay Area Codes.
Prior to Spitfire, Jen was the marketing and communication director at The San Francisco Foundation, where she helped launch the Foundation’s renewed focus on advancing racial and economic inclusion in the San Francisco Bay Area. Jen supported the Foundation’s CEO transition through messaging and materials and by supporting VOICE: Bay Area, a seven-city listening tour designed to re-engage with constituents and hear residents’ lived experiences to inform strategic planning. Working with teams across the organization, she developed strategies and messages to motivate their unique audiences to join the effort. She developed messaging and video assets to support the new strategy and rolled out a regional survey on race and inclusion with a four-part discussion series that included media partnerships.
Jen began her career at St. Anthony’s, a multi-program homeless services organization in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, where she built and executed fundraising campaigns for individual donors and institutional funders. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from San Francisco State University, learning about poverty and homelessness policy through her reporting on the City of San Francisco’s Care Not Cash program.